[cairo-announce] cairo release 1.6.0 now available

Carl Worth cworth at cworth.org
Thu Apr 10 17:57:48 PDT 2008

The cairo community is quite pleased to announce the 1.6.0 release of
the cairo graphics library. This is a major update to cairo, with new
features and enhanced functionality which maintains compatibility for
applications written using cairo 1.4, 1.2, or 1.0. We recommend that
anybody using a previous version of cairo upgrade to cairo 1.6.0.

The most significant new features in this release are dramatically
improved PDF and PostScript[*] output, support for arbitrary X server
visuals (including PseudoColor), a new Quartz backend, and and a new
"win32 printing" backend. See below for more details on these and
other new features.

Have fun with cairo!


The new cairo 1.6.0 release is now available from:


    which can be verified with:

        49d9d4c4796021c3ed02e5072e8ffe3a00ee4a77  cairo-1.6.0.tar.gz

        (signed by Carl Worth)

  Additionally, a git clone of the source tree:

        git clone git://git.cairographics.org/git/cairo

    will include a signed 1.6.0 tag which points to a commit named:

    which can be verified with:
        git verify-tag 1.6.0

    and can be checked out with a command such as:
        git checkout -b build 1.6.0

Summary of changes from cairo 1.4 to 1.6.0
[Note: For people following along, there have been no code changes at
all from the cairo 1.5.20 snapshot to cairo 1.6.0]

New dependency on external pixman library (Thanks, Søren!)
As of cairo 1.6, cairo now depends on the pixman library, for which
the latest release can be obtained alongside cairo:


This library provides all software rendering for cairo, (the
implementation of the image backend as well as any image fallbacks
required for other backends). This is the same code that was
previously included as part of cairo itself, but is now an external
library so that it can be shared by both cairo and by the X server,
(which is where the code originated).

Improved PDF, PostScript, and SVG output (Thanks, Adrian!)
Users of the cairo-pdf, cairo-ps, and cairo-svg should see a dramatic
improvement from cairo 1.2/1.4 to 1.6. With this release there are now
almost no operations that will result in unnecessary rasterization in
the PDF and PostScript. Rasterized "image fallbacks" are restricted
only to minimal portions of the document where something is being
drawn with cairo that is beyond the native capabilities of the
document, (this is rare for PDF or SVG, but occurs when blending
translucent objects for PostScript).

This means that the final output will be of higher quality, and will
also be much smaller, and therefore will print more quickly. The
machinery for doing analysis and minimal fallbacks also benefits the
win32-printing surface described below.

In addition to doing less rasterization, the PostScript and PDF output
also has several other improvements to make the output more efficient
and more compatible with specifications.

[*] Note: Just before this release, a bug has been reported that the
PostScript output from cairo can crash some printers, (so far the
following models have been reported as problematic Xerox Workcentre
7228 or 7328 and Dell 5100cn). We will implement a workaround as soon
as we can learn exactly what in cairo's output these printers object
to, (and we could use help from users that have access to misbehaving
printers). This bug is being tracked here:

	Printing some PDFs from evince is crashing our Xerox printer

New support for arbitrary X server visuals (Thanks, Keith and Behdad!)
As of cairo 1.6, cairo should now work with an arbitrary TrueColor or
8-bit PseudoColor X server visual. Previous versions of cairo did not
support these X servers and refused to draw anything. We're pleased to
announce that this limitation has been lifted and people stuck with
ancient display systems need no longer be stuck with ancient software
just because of cairo.

New, supported Quartz backend for Mac OS X (Thanks, Brian and Vladimir!)
As of cairo 1.6, the cairo-quartz backend is now marked as "supported"
rather than "experimental" as in previous cairo releases. Its API now
has guarantees of API stability into future cairo releases, and its
output quality is comparable to other backends. There have been
significant improvements to cairo-quartz since 1.4. It now uses many
fewer image fallbacks, (meaning better performance), and has greatly
improved text rendering.

New, "win32 printing" backend (Thanks, Adrian and Vladimir!)
A new win32-printing surface has been added with an interface very
similar to the original win32 surface, (both accept an HDC
parameter). But this new surface should only be called with a printing
DC, and will result in all drawing commands being stored into a
meta-surface and emitted after each page is complete. This allows
cairo to analyze the contents, (as it does with PDF, PostScript, and
SVG backends), and to do minimal image-based fallbacks as
necessary. The analysis keeps things as efficient as possible, while
the presence of fallbacks, (when necessary), ensure the consistent,
high-quality output expected from cairo.

Robustness fixes (Thanks, Chris!)
There has been a tremendous number of improvements to cairo's
robustness. Areas that have been improved include:

	* Proper reporting of errors

	* Responding correctly to invalid input

	* Avoiding integer overflows

	* Avoiding memory leaks on error-recovery paths

	* Making reference counting thread safe

	* Exhaustive testing of memory allocation points

Other fixes (Thanks, everybody!)
Cairo's internal fixed-point representation has been changed from
16.16 to 24.8. This has a direct impact on applications as it allows
much larger objects to be drawn before internal limits in cairo make
the drawing not work.

The CAIRO_EXTEND_PAD mode is now fully supported by surface
patterns. This mode allows applications to use cairo_rectangle and
cairo_fill to draw scaled images with high-quality bilinear filtering
for the internal of the image, but without any objectionably blurry
edges, (as would happen with the default EXTEND_NONE and cairo_paint).

Rendering with CAIRO_ANTIALIAS_NONE has been fixed to be more
predictable, (previously image rendering and geometry rendering would
be slightly misaligned with respect to each other).

The reference manual at http://cairographics.org/manual now documents
100% of the functions and types in cairo's public API.

API additions
Several small features have been added to cairo with new API functions:


    Must be called to compute a properly aligned stride value before
    calling cairo_image_surface_create_for_data.


    Allows querying if there is a current point defined for the
    current path.


    Allows querying for path extents, (independent of any fill or
    stroke parameters).


    Allow beginning a new document page without requiring a cairo_t


    Allow controlling the Post PostScript level, (2 or 3), to
    target, as well as to generate Encapsulated PostScript (EPS).


    Create a quartz-specific cairo_font_face_t from a CGFontRef.


    Create a win32-specific cairo_font_face from a LOGFONTW and an
    HFONT together.

Thanks, Everyone!
I've accounted for 32 distinct people with attributed code added to
cairo between 1.4.14 and 1.6.0, (their names are below). That's an
impressive number, but there are certainly dozens more that
contributed with testing, suggestions, clarifying questions, and
encouragement. I'm grateful for the friendships that have developed as
we have worked on cairo together. Thanks to everyone for making this
all so much fun!

Adrian Johnson, Alp Toker, Antoine Azar, Behdad Esfahbod,
Benjamin Otte, Bernardo Innocenti, Bertram Felgenhauer,
Boying Lu, Brian Ewins, Carl Worth, Chris Heath, Chris Wilson,
Claudio Ciccani, Emmanuel Pacaud, Jeff Muizelaar, Jeremy Huddleston,
Jim Meyering, Jinghua Luo, Jody Goldberg, Jonathan Gramain,
Keith Packard, Ken Herron, Kouhei Sutou, Kristian Høgsberg,
Larry Ewing, Martin Ejdestig, Nis Martensen, Peter Weilbacher,
Richard Hult, Shailendra Jain, Søren Sandmann Pedersen,
Vladimir Vukicevic

What is cairo
Cairo is a 2D graphics library with support for multiple output
devices. Currently supported output targets include the X Window
System, win32, and image buffers, as well as PDF, PostScript, and SVG
file output. Experimental backends include OpenGL (through glitz),
Quartz, XCB, BeOS, OS/2, and DirectFB.

Cairo is designed to produce consistent output on all output media
while taking advantage of display hardware acceleration when available
(for example, through the X Render Extension).

The cairo API provides operations similar to the drawing operators of
PostScript and PDF. Operations in cairo include stroking and filling
cubic Bézier splines, transforming and compositing translucent images,
and antialiased text rendering. All drawing operations can be
transformed by any affine transformation (scale, rotation, shear,

Cairo has been designed to let you draw anything you want in a modern
2D graphical user interface.  At the same time, the cairo API has been
designed to be as fun and easy to learn as possible. If you're not
having fun while programming with cairo, then we have failed
somewhere---let us know and we'll try to fix it next time around.

Cairo is free software and is available to be redistributed and/or
modified under the terms of either the GNU Lesser General Public
License (LGPL) version 2.1 or the Mozilla Public License (MPL) version

Where to get more information about cairo
The primary source of information about cairo is:


The latest versions of cairo can always be found at:


Documentation on using cairo and frequently-asked questions:


Mailing lists for contacting cairo users and developers:


Roadmap and unscheduled things to do, (please feel free to help out):

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